Nine round barrows 850m north east of Pennatillie


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Nine round barrows 850m north east of Pennatillie
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Columb Major
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Ervan
National Grid Reference:
SW 91088 67388, SW 91228 67385, SW 91329 67987, SW 91372 67759, SW 91417 67394, SW 91433 67592, SW 91523 67394, SW 91748 67648

Reasons for Designation

Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite modification by ploughing, the nine round barrows 850m north east of Pennatillie survive well. The underlying old land surfaces, and remains of any structures or other deposits associated with these and with the upstanding earthworks, will also survive. The location on the top and shoulders of a hill, with striking distant views to an estuary, illustrates well the important role of topography in prehistoric funerary activity.


The scheduling includes nine prehistoric round barrows, situated on the level summit and moderate northern and western slopes of a rounded hill north of St Columb Major. They are associated with other barrows beyond this scheduling, together forming a wider hill and ridge-top barrow cemetery. The barrows are fairly widely and evenly spaced, apart from two which form a neighbouring pair. Five are dispersed west-east over the summit of the hill, though they are not very closely aligned with one another. These five command dramatic distant views north over the Camel estuary. The scheduling is divided into eight separate areas of protection.

Taking first the barrow on the south west in the scheduling, at the west end of the dispersed group, this has a mound of earth and stone roughly crescent-shaped in plan, being truncated by cultivation to the east. The mound measures up to 15m across and is reduced by ploughing to a height of around 0.5m. It is modified on the east to form part of a boundary bank. There is no evidence for a ditch surrounding the mound.

Moving east towards the highest point of the hill, the second barrow in this group has an earth and stone mound approximately 20m in diameter and 0.6m high. The profile of the mound is regular, smoothed by ploughing. No surrounding ditch is recorded.

Further east is the pair of closely set barrows, standing on top of the hill. Each of these has an earth mound with a rounded profile; neither is considered to have an external ditch. The southern barrow of the pair has a diameter of approximately 22m, and is up to 0.9m high. The northern one is approximately 26m across, and up to 1m high.

The barrow on the east of the summit, the most easterly of the dispersed group, is approximately 25m across and up to 1.2m high. Its mound rises with curving sides to a slightly flattened top, and is thought to have no surrounding ditch.

Of the barrows on the north slope of the hill, the two nearest to the summit are similar in appearance, each having a mound with no known ditch, approximately 24m in diameter and 1m high. Both of these mounds are smoothed by ploughing.

The northernmost barrow in the scheduling is sub-circular in plan and measures approximately 26m across and 2m high. Its mound contains earth with small rubble quartz and shillet (local stone), and has a curving profile with a flat centre to its top, smoothed and trimmed by ploughing. No external ditch is known.

Lastly, the barrow on the north east shoulder of the hill has a diameter of approximately 19m. It has an earth and stone mound rising to 1.1m high with a regular rounded profile, except on the west side where the edge is reduced. Again, there are no traces of a ditch around the mound.

The modern agricultural implement and fencing are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Borlase, W C, Naenia Cornubiae, (1872), 243
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
Saunders, AD, AM7, (1958)
SW 96 NW 15, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 15, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
SW 96 NW 16, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 16, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
SW 96 NW 17, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 18, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 19, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 20, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 20, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
Title: Cornwall Mapping Project Source Date: 1995 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1" Map Source Date: 1810 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1" Map Source Date: 1810 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Date approx
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1880 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Date approx.
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1908 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Date approx.
Title: St Columb Major Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
TS in CAU information file, Johnson, ND, Letter to IAM, (1976)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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